It wasn’t planned, there was no forethought. 

We had just stepped off the boat from our first snorkeling excursion along a Caribbean coral reef, when Rosie landed at the foot of my padded beach lounger.  While kaleidoscopic visions of tropical fish danced around my saltwater-logged head–much the way cartoon stars encircle Wile E. Coyote when his Road Runner nemesis bests him again–Rosie made me an offer I couldn’t refuse.

A new hair-do.

Truth be told, my first answer was "no"–her initial offer WAS something I could refuse, $2/braid.  But then, my husband prodded me along, and she coaxed me to come look at a few pictures, and I quizzed her previous victim client who had an adorable braided "do" not stopping to consider she was all of 25…and after some intense negotiation, I was in.

At the time, it didn’t overly concern me I had a) just returned from a boat ride and my hair was tangly and nappy, b) JUST SOAKED MY HAIR IN SALT WATER FOR AN HOUR, and c) in Antigua, this look was typical…in Tennessee…in
the Fall…I’d be a freak show walking.

I’m stalling…you’re here for the pictures.  Let’s look first at the process–here’s Rosie in action:


See?  I wasn’t exaggerating–t.a.n.g.l.y. n.a.p.p.y. hair.

Next, me with a do-rag trying to hide the evidence…the sunglasses do a great job of keeping me incognito, huh?  The big wrinkle across my forehead (which you won’t notice unless you super-size the piccha, so I wouldn’t recommend it) is NOT a worry line…it’s a snorkel mask indentation…very lovely.

And last…a view from behind.  It really is cool….


It has been odd to be back in Tennessee this time of year, with braids and a tan.  Feeling VERY self conscious, our first night back, I went to Wally World for groceries. After receiving thousands hundreds dozens of gawk-eyed looks, I couldn’t have loved the four people more–two Wal-Mart staffers and two customers–who said kind things to me about the braids "looking nice"….if someone has a weird hairdo, I encourage you to find something positive to say, even if it’s a total stranger…trust me, she’ll want? need? to hear it. 

In case you’re wondering, some FAQs about the braided "do" (these are things I have in fact, been frequently asked, actually a surprise to me):

How long did it take?
About three hours…but I’ve never had a more beautiful "studio" (lol, a resin chair, under a lone tree on the beach, overlooking the Caribbean).

How many braids do you have?
57…Rosie counted.

How much did it cost?
Less than Rosie’s original quote, but she threatened me if I told.  She didn’t look like the kind of chick I’d wanna cross.

Did it hurt?
Only the little ones around my face.

How long will it stay in?
Rosie said up to 3-4 weeks, but I’ve already lost some beads.  Rachel and I replaced some of them with orthodontic rubber bands last night (lol).  Her braces came in handy for more than just straightening teeth!  I’ll probably unbraid it by Friday…that’s over a week of this monkey business.

Does it bother you to sleep?
Surprisingly, no.  It DID bother Tad when I put my head on his shoulder.

When my (sister, friend, whoever) had their hair braided, it FELL OUT when they took it down…are you worried about that?
Well, thankyewverymuch, NOW I am!  And even more so when I read this (scroll down) and this (since I did NOTHING it suggests to "prepare" my hair AND it was drenched in salt water when we began)!

Can you wash it?
Yes, but I only wash my scalp, not my braids.  And it feels sooooo good to scratch in between the parts, lol.

Who knew your hair could be such a conversation starter?

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